Description

Free and fair elections are a cornerstone of democracy. However, for the duration of its history, the United States has been plagued by disenfranchisement and voter suppression. The 1965 Voting Rights Act, partly drafted in the Religious Action Center's library, was a monumental step forward in protecting the freedom to vote. It helped block laws that denied Americans the equal right to vote based on race and enacted federal voting protections. Yet in the past two decades, Americans' access to the ballot box has been curtailed through a range of actions.

The 2013 Shelby v. Holder Supreme Court decision gutted a crucial part of the Voting Rights Act which contained a formula requiring certain areas with a history of disenfranchisement problems to seek pre-clearance from the Department of Justice when making changes to election procedures. Just 24 hours after the release of the Shelby decision, Texas announced a plan to implement a strict photo ID requirement for voting. Since then, more than 440 laws that would restrict American's freedom to vote have been introduced in 49 states, which would overwhelmingly impact and limit access to the ballot for Communities of Color. Along with our partners, the Reform Movement continues to push for a restoration of the voting rights act and efforts to ensure equal access to the freedom to vote so that the promise of democracy is made real for us all.

Take Action

Urge your Senators to pass the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act

The Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act (H.R. 5746) would restore critical protections against racially discriminatory laws and move us toward a democracy that responds to the needs and priorities of voters. The right to vote is fundamental in a democracy and we must ensure that elections are accessible for all. Filibuster reform, if needed to pass this critical bill, and the provisions in this bill are essential to ensure that Americans’ freedom to vote is protected.

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Sign outside polling place that says: Vote Here

What's New

Practicing Democracy

June 28, 2022
As we reflect on the United States' Independence Day, I am mindful that democracy also takes commitment and practice. Democracy takes practice because it still is not accessible to all.

Let Our People Vote

August 30, 2021
As a rabbi, my passion for the right to vote is not only derived from my love of democracy – but from my love of Jewish text and teachings.

Related Press Releases

Reform Judaism's Resolutions on Civil Rights and Voting Rights

Learn more about the position of the Reform Movement on these key issues, and read the formal resolutions by URJ and CCAR.

View URJ Resolutions View Resolutions From Our Partners

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Contact Our Legislative Assistants

For more information on this issue, Contact Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Israel Harris at (202) 543 3651.